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Fantasy World

Pretense investigates disguise, deception, and their role in creating identity.

My recent paintings portray the surreal human circus. We all populate this vast theatre, this house of mirrors, where things are not always as they seem. The actors I create identify themselves one mask at a time, by concealing their identities, and by establishing new ones. These performers invite the audience into the big top with them, barely pulling back the curtain to reveal the artifice behind the show. As observers, our response is bittersweet. The play casts the “brave face” we wear in public under a new spotlight, revealing the fragility of this mask that conceals and protects our true personae.

These narratives are revealed through a blend of portraiture and contemporary realism. Portraying scenes between the obvious and the hidden, I place my subjects at a temporal distance. Just as foreign travel heightens the way we perceive our familiar environs, vintage images sharpen the viewer’s perception and receptivity to meaning. I employ a color palette reminiscent of Renaissance paintings to further imply this backward glance in time.

Among my favorite subjects, children and animals are the stars in “Pretense.” They wear their costumes with innocence and blind trust, made all the more poignant by the masks and roles we assume as adults.